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    24 Things You May Not Know About The Moomins

    How Moomin are you?

    1. A quick reminder: The Moomins are a fairytale family of Finnish "trolls" who have adventures with their friends and neighbours in Moomin Valley.

    The main characters include Moomintroll, his parents, Moominmamma and Moominpappa, Snufkin, Little My, and the terrifying Groke.

    2. The now internationally beloved Moomins first appeared in a series of comic strips and novels by Finnish writer, artist, and illustrator Tove Jansson. / Wikicommons

    These stories later inspired international TV shows, films, and a staggering range of merchandise that sells well even today. A Moomin shop even opened in London's Covent Garden in 2011.

    3. So now to the stuff you might not know. Jansson drew her first ever Moomin on the toilet wall of her family's summer house during a childhood argument with her brothers about philosophy.


    4. The first printed Moomin appeared in an anti-Hitler cartoon Jansson drew for satirical Finnish magazine Garm in 1938. She signed herself off with an angry Moomin.

    5. At that time, her Moomin was called Snork and looked thinner and creepier than the rounded, friendly Moomins we know today. / Oy Moomin Characters Ltd.

    6. Britain's first glimpse of Moomintroll was a shot of his bottom in the first Moomin comic strip to run in The London Evening News in 1952. The series continued until 1970. / Oy Moomin Characters

    7. Jansson started producing Moomin novels alongside her comic strips. She wrote the first Moomin novel, Moomin and the Great Flood, at the end of the Second World War.

    The book deals with a family separation and a home under threat. Both Jansson's brothers enlisted to fight in the war.

    8. Incidentally, Tove Jansson is pronounced "Tor-vay Yarn-son".

    9. Although Jansson was Finnish, The Moomins was originally written in Swedish. / Oy Moomin Characters Ltd.

    Jansson and her family were among the minority of Swedish-speaking Finns living in Finland.

    10. Moomin Valley was inspired by the area around Jansson's family summer house in northern Finland.

    The fertile greenery of Moomin Valley echoes Pellinki, the archipelago in the Gulf of Finland where Jansson spent her childhood summers.

    11. The adventurous Moominpappa, with his top hat and seafaring nature, was based on Jansson's storm-chasing father. / Oy Moomin Characters Ltd.

    Viktor Jansson was a sculptor who loved storms and fires. Whenever there was a fire in Helsinki, he would scoop up the children to go and watch it unfold.

    12. Janssen had both male and female romantic partners over the course of her life. Too-Ticky, the piratical tomboy, was based on Jansson's life partner, the celebrated graphic designer Tuulikki Pietilä. / Oy Moomin Characters Ltd.


    13. And the characters Thingumy and Bob were based on an another, ill-fated, same-sex love affair. / Oy Moomin Characters Ltd.

    Introduced in Finn Family Moomintroll, the inseparable Thingumy and Bob constantly hold hands, speak in a secret language, carry a mysterious suitcase, and are always being chased by the fearsome Groke.

    In real life, Jansson enjoyed a brief but intense love affair with Vivica Bandler, a married theatre director, at a time when same-sex relationships were illegal in Finland.

    14. The character of Toft, who appears in Moomin Valley in November, was based on Tove Jansson herself.

    Jansson wrote this final, slightly melancholy Moomin book in 1970, after the death of her mother. In the book, Toft visits the Moominhouse only to find that no one is home. And no one comes home.

    15. The Moomins became so popular that you could read Moomin studies at Swedish universities in the 1950s.

    16. Moomin philosophy has been declared Dionysian rather than Apollonian.

    17. Jansson rejected an offer from Walt Disney to buy up the Moomin brand.

    18. A theme park called Moomin World opened in Finland in 1993.

    Its attractions include the big blue Moomin House, the Hemulen's house, Snufkin's camp, and Moominpappa's boat. A second Moomin World is due to open in Japan in 2015.

    19. But Jansson also built her own Moomin House.

    Tove Jansson built this Moomin House between 1976 and 1979 with Pentti Eskola and Tuulikki Pietilä. It is housed in the Tampere Art Museum in Finland.

    20. There has been a Moomin opera and several Moomin plays.

    Jansson worked with Vivika Bandler on a series of Moomin plays in the 1950s, and in 1974 she designed the costumes for a Moomin opera written by Finnish composer Ilkka Kuusisto.

    21. And even a Moomin cookbook. Published in 2010, it gives an introduction to Finnish forage and forest cuisine, something called "apple grog", and even toast.

    22. The first Moomin TV series was the famous "fuzzy-felt" Moomins, which aired in the UK with this spooky but charming theme tune in the 1970s.

    View this video on YouTube

    23. Jansson's brother Lars took over the comic strip in 1961 and drew it until 1974.

    His daughter Sophia has been managing them since 1993.

    24. Although the Moomins started life in the 1940s, they're still going strong today. The movie Moomins on the Riviera was released in 2014.

    View this video on YouTube